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Good Excuses for Parking Ticket Appeals 2022

good excuse parking ticket appeals

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

What are good excuses for parking ticket appeals? Take a look at our list of good excuses to appeal a parking fine below, and work out if you could avoid paying the fine. 

Before we get into the best excuses to appeal a parking ticket, it’s important to know about the appeals process. Not all parking tickets are the same, and therefore they have different appeals processes. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

Two types of parking tickets

Not all parking tickets issued in the UK are the same. There are some parking tickets issued by local authorities for parking contraventions in council areas. And there are other parking tickets issued by private landowners. 

The two types of parking tickets are called Penalty Charge Notices and Parking Charge Notices. Do you know which is which?

What is a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)?

A Penalty Charge Notice is a fine from a local authority or transport group. Local councils usually issue these fines to motorists for parking contraventions on council land, or for traffic violations. The most common traffic violation that could get you a PCN is driving in bus lanes.

Transport groups can issue Penalty Charge Notices when a motorist does not pay a road toll by a set deadline, such as the London Congestion Charge. 

What is a private parking ticket?

A private parking ticket, also known as a Parking Charge Notice, is a parking fine served by a private company rather than a council. They are not real fines and more like invoices from the business for breaking an unwritten contract when parking on their land, likely because you never paid. 

Although they are not initially enforceable, the company can take you to a small claims court to force you to pay. Your credit report can only be damaged if you don’t pay after losing in court. This is because the company didn’t provide you with any credit. 

As both types of parking tickets have the initials PCN, it can be confusing. We will use PCN to refer to council parking tickets only in the rest of this post. 

Can you appeal a PCN?

You can only appeal a Penalty Charge Notice if you submit the appeal within 28 days, which is also the amount of time you get to pay the PCN before the fine gets increased. You cannot make an appeal after 28 days. 

Your appeal will involve a written statement explaining why you think the parking ticket should be cancelled and no fine should be owed. You can improve the strength of your appeal with evidence to back up your claim. Once you appeal you don’t have to do anything more until you receive a decision from the council. 

How do you write a letter to challenge a PCN?

Sometimes your appeal will be submitted online using the council’s website. Or you’ll get the option to send your appeal as a letter. The letter should include all your relevant personal information, including your PCN number

It should then explain your excuses against the parking ticket in a clear way. We have made writing a PCN appeals letter easier for you. Simply download our free appeal letter template to make a good start with your letter. 

What happens if your PCN appeal is rejected?

If the council rejects your PCN appeal, you have the right to escalate the appeal to an independent tribunal if desired. An independent panel will decide whether the parking ticket should stand or not based on your arguments and evidence. Their decision is final. 

When a local authority denies the PCN challenge, they must provide instructions on how to escalate the appeal. 

Can you appeal a private parking ticket?

You can challenge Parking Charge Notices as well. Companies that issue private parking tickets will provide information on how to appeal the fine. The exact method of appealing could be somewhat different between companies. But it’s likely to involve a statement or letter explaining your arguments against the fine. 

How do I write a letter to appeal a parking ticket?

Your letter to appeal a parking fine should include clear paragraphs, starting with the basic information about the supposed contravention. It should then explain one or more reasons why the parking ticket shouldn’t have been served. 

Try to write with facts rather than emotion, even if you’re angry or upset to have received the fine. 

The best reasons to appeal a parking ticket

The best excuses to get out of a parking ticket are:

  1. You were in fact parked correctly
  2. There was no way to pay
  3. The parking ticket was delayed
  4. Admin errors
  5. Unclear or unmarked road signs
  6. Typos when entering registration numbers
  7. You were unable to get back to your vehicle
  8. You were within the “grace period”

Here is further information on each of these excuses:

#1: Delay in issuing the fine

You can be excused from paying a fine if the council or private company took too long to send the fine to you (if it wasn’t left on your vehicle). 

In general, they have 28 days to send it but this can be extended. Learn more in our dedicated guide on this subject here

#2: Administration error

If you were issued a parking fine for a vehicle you don’t drive then there could have been an administration error at the DVLA. Sometimes the council have to ask the DVLA for your address to post the PCN, and this can result in errors. 

#3: You weren’t guilty of a parking contravention

The best argument of all is that you weren’t guilty of a parking contravention. An inexperienced traffic warden may incorrectly have issued you a fine.  But this may also be the hardest to prove. 

#4: Unclear road signs

You can usually get your parking fine wiped if the council’s road signs and parking instructions were damaged or unclear. This can happen due to weather damage or if trees and bushes are not maintained near signs. 

#5: Typo when paying for your parking

Some ticket machines make you enter your vehicle registration number when you pay. However, if you make an honest error when typing your registration into the machine, any subsequent parking fine cannot stand. 

#6: You couldn’t return to your vehicle

You might be able to have the fine cancelled if you overstayed in a parking zone or car park because you were unable to get back to the vehicle in time. It depends on the reason why you couldn’t return. 

For example, a medical emergency will probably be accepted with evidence. Whereas saying your watch stopped or smartphone battery died isn’t likely to be accepted. 

#7: Out of order ticket machine

An out-of-order ticket machine is a good excuse to get you out of a parking fine. If there was no other way for you to pay then it could be an acceptable excuse. However, if there were other easy ways to pay then it may not be accepted. 

#8: You were within the “grace period”

Most parking enforcement officers will give motorists a grace period of five to ten minutes before issuing a fine. If you overstayed by a couple of minutes but still received a ticket, you may be able to use this as an excuse. 

Can I appeal a parking ticket if my car breaks down?

Citizens Advice states that your car breaking down could stop you from being liable to pay a council or private parking ticket. You’ll likely need evidence that your car broke down, such as an invoice from a qualified mechanic. 

Will I always need evidence for my appeal?

You might need evidence to back up your statement. However, you can still win your appeal and not have any evidence. This may be because the local authority or company doesn’t require evidence. 

For example, if you argued that the ticket machine was broken, the council or company may have the means to check if it was working or not when you were in the car park. 

How long can a company chase you for a parking ticket?

A private company can chase you for up to six years before the ticket cannot be legally enforced. They cannot take you to a small claims court after six years, and therefore the fine can never become legally enforceable. 

Parking ticket appeal excuses – can I lie?

You shouldn’t lie to get out of a parking ticket and you probably wouldn’t get away with it. If you’re fighting back against a PCN, it may be a better idea to pay the fine within 14 days

Motorists who pay within the first two weeks will receive 50% off their fine, which is a considerable saving. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

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